Paul Rouget, Media365: published on Friday, November 25, 2022 at 3:16 p.m.
For the Italian coach and one of his European champion players, Italy, like the other continental champions, should have automatically qualified for the World Cup in Qatar.
It is one of the great absentees from this Qatari World Cup, which was announced last Sunday. Despite the conquest of the title of European champion in 2021, the Italian selection does not participate in the competition. And this because the Transalpine, second in their qualifying group behind Switzerland, failed, to everyone’s surprise, in the semi-finals of the play-offs, losing in additional time against North Macedonia in March (0-1 ). Even if they were already absent in 2018 and had left the competition in the group stage four years earlier, it remained an incongruity for many Italians, as Federico Bernardeschi named in an interview with the Gazzetta dello Sport. “I am European champion and I have never played at the World Cup: it’s absurd. The nations that win the various continental tournaments should qualify directly for the World Cup“said the 28-year-old international striker, who now plays in Toronto.
“Illogical” for Mancini
A point of view shared by his coach, Roberto Mancini, who judges this non-qualification of the European champion “illogical”. “I think that the European champion, like all continental champions, should qualify directly for the World Cup. I say that in the interest of football. Just as the last winners of the competition were to be automatically qualified. Football does not always make the right decisions”, he regretted for the Corriere della Serra, judging this absence “very difficult” to live with. “But we have to accept it. I don’t believe in the curse, we want to be present in the United States in four years and why not win.” In four years, it will be in North America, for the first World Cup in history with 48 teams, with 16 qualified European selections. Maybe it will pass for Italy this time. European Champion or not…